Welcome to the McDonald Laboratory of Integrative ‘Omics

Our lab is focused on using epidemiology and ‘omics to gain insight to:

  • why some people have a higher risk of developing disease than others
  • why when certain individuals do develop disease they seem to do worse than others

To accomplish this we harness and integrate information encoded in our genes, transcripts, proteins and metabolites coupled with deep disease phenotyping. This involves using and developing our knowledge in ‘omics as well as cell biology, genetic epidemiology, biostatistics, statistical genetics, computer programming, bioinformatics and network theory.

Our lab is currently investigating lung diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well as other complex traits such as osteoarthritis and joint replacement.

A primary focus of our lab is using ‘omics to expand our understanding of cachexia in COPD. Cachexia is a wasting condition often thought of with respect to cancer. However, by population prevalence there are more COPD patients with cachexia than cancer patients with cachexia.

A second major initiative our team is leading is the genetics of osteoarthritis and joint replacement in the Million Veteran Program.

More recently, we have begun several projects with the goal of contributing the understanding of COVID19 acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).